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40 years ago today... a Longhorn Landed on the Moon

On November 19, 1969, Captain Alan Bean became the fourth man to walk on the moon.

A 1955 aerospace engineering graduate, he is the first and only Longhorn to take a giant leap for mankind and discover the mystery of the moon. Now as an accomplished artist, he documents his experiences and those of his fellow moonwalkers with paint. Alan Bean is the only artist to paint another world from firsthand experience.

Bean's career path has been long and wide. He attended high school in Fort Worth and received an ROTC scholarship that enabled him to pursue his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. After completing his degree in 1955, he attended U.S. Navy flight training school, then joined Jet Attack Squadron 44. He eventually became a naval test pilot, and in 1963 was selected to be an astronaut. By 1969 he was the lunar module pilot of the Apollo 12 mission, completing man's second lunar landing and becoming the fourth man to set foot on the moon.

Bean flew to space again as spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II, a mission that lasted 59 days, traveling 24.4 million miles through space. He was then selected as backup spacecraft commander for the joint U.S.-Russia Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, and was later assigned Chief of Operations and Training and Acting Chief Astronaut until the shuttle's first flight. In his service with NASA, he helped establish 11 world records in space and astronautics and logged almost 1,700 hours in space.

Throughout his NASA career, when not in mission training, Bean studied art at night and on weekends. In 1981, he resigned from NASA to devote his time to painting. His work has been on display at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, the LBJ Library, and art galleries across the country. His art has adorned the covers of many books and magazines. Bean is creating a body of work that captures the spirit of Apollo, paintings of what humans experience when we first visit a world other than our own. These are images and stories that tell of the incredible adventures and accomplishments made possible by the 400,000 Americans who worked to make these first voyages into the universe a reality.

Currently his paintings are on display at the Smithsonian Institution for the exhibition "Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World" http://www.nasm.si.edu/exhibitions/gal211/alanbean.cfm